ABC’s 20/20 co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas, who has not been seen on the air since October 18, is being treated in a rehab facility for alcohol dependency, the news division confirmed this afternoon. “We are proud of the steps Elizabeth has taken and are pulling for her recovery,” ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider said in a statement. “We look forward to having her back home at ABC News, where she has done so much distinguished work over the years. Elizabeth is a member of our family, and we will support her in every way we can.”
Vargas began treatment shortly after her last appearance on ABC. Before joining 20/20, Vargas and Bob Woodruff were named permanent co-anchors of ABC’s evening newscast in December 2005 following the death of Peter Jennings. Vargas solo-anchored for a period after Woodruff was badly injured in Iraq in early ’06. On May 23, 2006, Vargas officially resigned from World News Tonight and Charlie Gibson became the show’s anchor. At the time, Vargas said her doctors wanted her to cut back her schedule because she was having a difficult pregnancy. In late 2006, Vargas returned as co-anchor of 20/20; she also anchors ABC News specials.